Reforms and Initiatives That Have Been Designed Research Proposal

Pages: 28 (7819 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 100  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: Doctorate  ·  Topic: Teaching

¶ … reforms and initiatives that have been designed to improve the quality of further education colleges and teachers in England. The government has invested billions of pounds in these efforts to date, but the desired outcomes of promoting a professionalized cadre of teaching staff for further education institutions have remained elusive. There has been a groundswell of efforts as well to increase the rigor of the credentialing process for further education teachers, and many of these educators have elected to either leave the professional altogether or switch to teaching in schools in response. The purpose of this study was three-fold: (a) to deliver a comprehensive and critical review of the relevant literature concerning recent and current initiatives intended to support further education in the United Kingdom; (b) to identify a new model for education and training for further education to promote teacher professionalism; and, (c) to identify quality issues that can be used as opportunities for improving further education provision in England in sustainable ways to ensure equality and diversity of access to these resources. To this end, a review of the relevant literature concerning these issues is followed by a summary of the research and recommendations in the concluding chapter.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Introduction

Statement of the Problem

Purpose of Study

Importance of Study

Scope of Study

Rationale of Study

Overview of Study

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Chapter 2: Review of Related Literature

Chapter 3: Conclusions and Recommendations

New Model Education and Training for Further Education (FE) Teacher Professionalism: Quality Issues in Further Education Provision in England

Chapter One: Introduction

TOPIC: Research Proposal on Reforms and Initiatives That Have Been Designed Assignment

The need for a high quality education has never been greater, and there has been an increasing amount of attention concerning how further education can help achieve improved academic outcomes throughout the United Kingdom in general and England in particular in recent years. Over the past decade or so, a wide range of initiatives have been advanced to this end. For instance, the Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills emphasizes that, "Further education (FE) matters. It matters because so many learners use it and because they use it for so many reasons: for the love of learning; to learn new skills; to gain more qualifications; to equip themselves for higher education; or to improve their employability or chances of promotion" (2005, 1). Moreover, properly implemented and administered, further education stands to make a substantive difference in the connection between what is learned and how it is used by providing all learners with appropriate opportunities and because the nation's private sector depends on further education to provide young learners with the skills and knowledge they need to compete effectively in the 21st century (Further education matters, 2005).

Despite the importance of effective further education in the United Kingdom today, there remains a number of problems, many of which relates to the quality of the educational services being delivered in further education colleges as well as the support and preparatory training being provided to further education teachers. More than 4,000,000 learners are already enrolled in further education colleges of all sizes, including facilities with just a few students to major universities with enrollments of nearly 30,000 students (Further education matters 2005). Furthermore, Midgley emphasizes that until fairly recently, "The teaching of adult literacy, numeracy and English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) in further education colleges has been performed primarily by part-time teachers on short-term or agency contracts who had little in the way of career structure, job security or support from their colleges or senior managers" (2004:62).

Further education represents part of a continuum of initiatives undertaken by the government of the United Kingdom in recent years that is designed to expand learning opportunities for learners from disadvantaged backgrounds. These initiatives have included, for example, the "Sure Start" program that is intended to improve the educational, health and social development of young learners from less affluent families (Cheung & Anderson 2003). In addition, other initiatives such as the Peers Early Education Partnership program implemented in Oxfordshire has been introduced wherein parents and children are encouraged to read together (Cheung & Anderson 2003). Moreover, parents can also enroll in a "learning bridge" program, funded by the Adult Basic Skill Fund that provides with them with the opportunity to pursue coursework in further education colleges. Yet another such initiative is represented by the "Life Long Learning" program that seeks to expand access in further and higher education and improve the level of adult literacy in the United Kingdom (Cheung & Anderson 2003). In addition, the Further Education Funding Council has taken steps to improve distance learning opportunities which offer the same coursework and outcomes provided by traditionally taught curricular offerings (Moran & Rumble 2004).

Beyond the foregoing initiatives, other efforts to improve access to educational resources include open-learning centres that are designed to improve the relevance of the instructional material for learners. For example, Moran and Rumble note that, "Many colleges now have open-learning centres which provide flexible access to learning support. Increasingly, employers are also providing their own learning centres, sometimes assisted by their local further education (FE) college. The Employment Department has also been active in encouraging the development of open-learning centres in public libraries" (Moran & Rumble 2004, 122). Because resources are by definition scarce, though, it is vitally important that these educational initiatives provide learners with the best possible academic outcomes, but there are some quality issues involved in the delivery of further education services that adversely affect the initiatives, and these issues are discussed further below.

Statement of the Problem

Despite the efforts on the part of the government in recent years to design, implement and promote further educational initiatives, there are some significant constraints involved in how these programs are being implemented and administered. For example, based on the results of the first four years' of inspections of colleges, the Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills report, "Further education matters" emphasized that, "There are problems in the recruitment and training of FE teachers" (2005, 24); in addition, the report goes on to note that, "Colleges have not been able to discern either what is meant by quality, or where the responsibility for it resides, whether it lies with themselves, the inspectorates, the Department for Education and Skills (DfES), the LSC, the Learning and Skills Development Agency and the Centre for Excellence in Leadership" (2005:30). Yet another problem facing further education colleges is the pressure to provide degree programs for students who may have career goals that do not require a college education. In this regard, Johnstone points out that, "Students currently feel obliged to get a degree -- any degree -- because of unreasonable and unnecessary employer demands and the general scarcity of alternative vocational training. Faced with overwhelming demand, third-rate universities deliver third-rate teaching in third-rate subjects, with little -- if any -- value in the real world" (2010:25).

Notwithstanding the efforts to address these and other problems with further education colleges in the United Kingdom at the national level, there are significant constraints involved in recruiting talented and committed teachers who are qualified to provide instructions in literary and mathematics as well as for various specialty areas such as English for speakers of other languages and vocational areas that are needed in the British economy, but the real problem is far more complex (Further education matters 2005). Even though many further education teachers were trained for their positions, there were no actual requirements for such teaching positions until as recently as 2001 (Further education matters 2005). In 2001, though, the Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills (Ofsted) was tasked with conducting inspections of further education training following the introduction of newly published national regulations that were intended to ensure the quality of further education teachers (Further education matters 2005). One of the requirements that was included in the national regulations was the need for all further education teachers to obtain a teaching qualification and another was the introduction by the government in 2002 of the Success for All initiatives, with its pillars being focused on training, learning and teaching (Further education matters 2005).

The UK Minister for Lifelong Learning Further and Higher Education, Bill Rammell, noted that as part of the Success for All initiative, a new Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills (QLTS) status will be required of all FE teachers; in addition, new qualification standards for the principals of further education colleges were also included as part of the overall effort (UK Government: Professionalising the workforce in further education 2006). For example, after 2008, lecturers in further education colleges were required to register with a professional body and to pursue regular professional development, up to 30 hours per year for full-time teachers, in order to improve their teaching skills and subject knowledge (Clancy 2007). In addition, all teachers entering the FE teaching profession after 2008 are required to acquire a licence to practise and satisfy new qualification requirements that assign them either Qualified Teacher Learning… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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